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Celebrating India globally: MIT India Conference to build on ‘Startup India’ initiative

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Startup India
Image source: huffingtonpost.in

Washington: Celebrating India’s achievements, the MIT India Conference will focus on how to create a thriving startup ecosystem in India to put Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Startup India” initiative into action.

Organized by the MIT Sloan School of Management in collaboration with the greater MIT community in Cambridge, Massachusetts on April 3, the conference plans to address all levels of entrepreneurship, according to a media release.

These include from scaling startups and addressing the challenges early startups face to social endeavours and sustainability.

With the “Startup India” initiative receiving a five-fold increase in its funding along with government plans to open new startup incubators, the objective becomes how best to sustain and build off of this momentum, it said.

This year’s conference will also feature a showcase of innovative projects being developed by MIT students and researchers with potential application for India.

The MIT India Conference aims to celebrate the achievements of India globally, as well as discuss future collaborations between India and the world that could help accelerate innovation into the future. The MIT-India conference has established itself as an important forum for leaders in industry, academia, and policy to discuss current issues and future innovations in the context of India, in the region and abroad, the release said.

Slated speakers and panellists include Arvind Subramanian, Chief Economic Adviser, Government of India; Mukesh Aghi, President, US-India Business Council; Gururaj Deshpande, Founder-Chairman, Sycamore Networks and Ashish Hemrajani, Founder-CEO, BookMyShow.com.

Others include Sorin Grama, Founder-CTO, Promethean Power Systems; Nishant Rao, COO, Freshdesk; Vivek Prabhakar, Founder-CEO, Chumbak; Anuradha Acharya, Founder-CEO, MapMyGenome India; Akash Bhatia: Founder-CEO, Infinite Analytics; Venkat Maroju, CEO, SourceTrace Systems; Anjana Reddy, MD, Universal Sportsbiz Pvt. Ltd and Zenobia Moochhala, Co-Founder, Care.com. (Arun Kumar, IANS)

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The Answer to The Impending Questions On Demonetization Are Here

While it did broaden the country’s tax base, it was a nightmare for the immense, cash-dependent informal economy.

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Indian Currency. Pixabay

Nearly all of the currency removed from circulation in a surprise 2016 attempt to root out illegal hoards of cash came back into the financial system, Resever Bank of India  has announced, indicating the move did little to slow the underground economy.

Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi’s currency decree, which was designed to destroy the value of billions of dollars in untaxed cash stockpiles, caused an economic slowdown and months of financial chaos for tens of millions of people or demonetization.

Modi announced in a November 2016 TV address that all 500-rupee and 1,000-rupee notes, then worth about $7.50 and $15, would be withdrawn immediately from circulation. The banned notes could be deposited into bank accounts but the government also said it would investigate deposits over 250,000 rupees, or about $3,700. The government eventually released new currency notes worth 500 and 2,000 rupees.

 

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An activist of Congress party hold the banned 500 and 1000 rupee notes.

 

In theory, the decree meant corrupt politicians and businesspeople would suddenly find themselves sitting on billions of dollars in worthless currency, known here as “black money.”

“A few people are spreading corruption for their own benefit,” Modi said in the surprise nighttime speech announcement of the order. “There is a time when you realize that you have to bring some change in society, and this is our time.”

But even as the decree caused turmoil for those in India who have always depended on cash — the poor and middle class, and millions of small traders — the rich found ways around the currency switch. In the months after the decree, businesspeople said that even large amounts of banned currency notes could be traded on the black market, though middlemen charged heavy fees.

demonetization
Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with mayor, flickr

The reserve bank of India report said in its Wednesday report that 99.3 percent of the $217 billion in notes withdrawn from circulation had come back into the economy. Some officials had originally predicted that number could be as low as 60 percent.

Also Read: Diverse Gathering To Be Addressed This World BioFuel Day: PM Narendra Modi

“Frankly, I think demonetization was a mistake,” said Gurcharan Das, a writer and the former head of Proctor & Gamble in India. He said that while it did broaden the country’s tax base, it was a nightmare for the immense, cash-dependent informal economy.

“You can’t overnight change that in a country which is poor and illiterate. Therefore, for me it’s not only an economic failure but a moral failure as well,” Das said. (VOA)